Canceling Your Child's Account
If you feel you must cancel your child's MySpace account, that is certainly your right as a parent. However, the only easy way to do that is with your child's cooperation.
In its Frequently Asked Questions, MySpace suggests, "Please work with your child to remove the account." That advice may seem to be unhelpful, but cooperation is important. Even if your child does agree to remove his profile, there is nothing to stop him from setting up a new profile that might be even harder for you to findor setting up an account on another social-networking service.
The Email Issue
Sometimes, kids set up accounts by using a fake email address. If the child is cooperative, and you've followed the basic account-cancellation steps but haven't received the confirmation email that's supposed to come within 24 hours, log into the child's profile and delete all the information in it (Headline, About Me, Interests, and so on). Then type in one of those boxes, "Remove this profile."
Next, send an email to CustomerCare@MySpace.com. In that email, provide the URL (Web address) of your child's account, such as www.myspace.com/susiemsith or www.myspace.com/99999999. (The URL is displayed in the My URL box of the user's home page, just below the Hello box.)
Next in your email, state that you want the profile to be removed and that the profile is now blank except for the instruction to remove it.
Without Your Child's Help
If you can't get into the account, send an email to "DeleteAccount@MySpace.com" with the profile's URL and ask that the profile be deleted. Without that URL, MySpace has no way of knowing which of the millions of profiles belongs to your child. If you don't know the address, try searching for it in MySpace's search box, using information such as your child's first and last names, school name, friends' URLs or names, as we describe in "Finding Your Child Online," earlier in this chapter. If there's evidence in the profile that the child is younger than MySpace's minimum age of 14, MySpace will delete the accountusually, within 48 hours of verification. In any case, you will receive an automated email providing a number that you can call to discuss your case.
If you can't get into the account because someone else created it to impersonate, embarrass, or otherwise harass your child, MySpace says, "We remove it on sight." Just email customer email@example.com to request deletion, again with the URL or address of the profile.
But keep in mind that realistically, there aren't enough hours in a day, week, or month in parents' schedules to find and, if desired, take down every account their kids have established online. It's better to work with your children on safe online socializing than to ban it and, in the process, send them into stealth mode. Open MySpace use, with ground rules, is much safer!
Your Best Defense...
While you may be heartened to learn of all the tools available to help keep kids safe on MySpace, remember what we said at the start of the chapter: Your best tool is maintaining an open relationship with your kids.
And here's another piece of advice you probably didn't expect to find in a book about MySpace: One way to help your kids stay safe online is to have meals together as a family. We all lead busy lives, and it's very easy to just grab food on our own. But family dinners are a chance to talk, process your day, and just be together. We're not suggesting that you talk about MySpace at dinner (lest you choke on your food), just that you spend time together and take interest in each other's lives. It's what relationshipsand parentingare all about.